Documentation Guidelines

Why Does SAS Need Documentation?

SAS staff and students work together via an interactive process to determine appropriate academic accommodations. The process works best when SAS staff have the opportunity to review documentation, especially for students with invisible disabilities, prior to an initial meeting.

What documentation should I provide?

Documentation should be on letterhead and provided by a qualified, licensed professional whose field of specialization directly pertains to the student's disability and who is unrelated to the student. The documentation that is most beneficial to SAS:

  • has been completed by a provider, who has an established/long-term relationship with and/or has conducted a multi-day evaluation of the student
  • articulates the history of difficulties and any prior services, medications, or other supports received by the student as well as the effectiveness or limitations of these prior supports
  • describes the functional limitations the student is likely to experience in an academic environment
  • references a diagnosis, even if provisional, of the student's condition, including any rule-out conditions or changes over time
  • suggests possible academic accommodations

Condition-specific Documentation

In many cases, providers can thoroughly complete the online SAS Verification Form on a student's behalf to share the information that is most useful to SAS in working with students to determine reasonable accommodations and other supports. (Non-Dartmouth providers will also need to submit a brief, signed and dated letter on letterhead.) If a condition is variable in nature, documentation should generally be no more than one year old so that SAS is in the best position to support current needs.

However, for conditions such as speech/language or learning disorders, attention-defict/hyperactivity disorder, auditory processing disorders, traumatic brain injuries, and Asperger's/autism spectrum disorders, a thorough evaluation report is preferred over the verification form and may be required. Students and providers should review the condition-specific documentation guidelines that apply to them.

Supplemental Documentation

Examples of documentation that are not typically sufficient for accommodations at postsecondary level, but could be used to supplement primary documentation, include:

  • An IEP or 504 Plan
  • An accommodation approval letter for the SAT, ACT, and/or Advanced-Placement exams
  • Letters from high school teachers or counselors confirming use of informal accommodations
  • Letters from academic coaches, learning disability specialists, and/or tutors
  • A copy of medication prescriptions 

Critical Information About Documentation

  1. Documentation is not intended to put a student in the position of proving their disability and is typically less necessary when a student's condition is apparent.
  2. Documentation will not become part of the student's educational records and will be kept in the student's confidential file at SAS.
  3. Regardless of the documentation submitted, students' approved accommodations and services will often differ (especially if students previously had an IEP) because the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvements Act no longer applies at the college level. For additional information, please see relevant laws governing accommodations.

Caveats

Additional information/documentation may be requested to verify a student's condition or to support particular accommodation requests especially when the student or their documentation does not clearly illustrate the need.

  • A diagnosis of a disorder, condition, or syndrome alone does not automatically qualify an individual for accommodations
  • The condition must have a significant, adverse impact on the student's functioning in order to qualify for accommodations
  • If a student's documentation is unclear or lacks the necessary detail to support a specific accommodation request, it may be referred for review and recommendation to other professionals on campus, such as Dartmouth College Health Service or Counseling Center. However, SAS will make the final determination of accommodations based on the documentation and input from the student.